George Beverly Shea

George Beverly Shea

The first time I heard of George Beverly Shea was at breakfast one morning in 1955, when my Dad was telling my Mum, my sister and myself about Billy Graham, George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows. At that time Dad was a policeman in Glasgow and the previous evening he had been on points and crowd control duty at the Kelvin Hall in the city. He spoke about thousands of people queuing to get into the Kelvin Hall to hear an American evangelist on his first crusade to Scotland. While they waited for up to three hours for the doors to open, the crowd sang hymns and gospel songs. My Dad said,” The singing was good on the way in, but on the way out! it was wonderful!”

George Beverly Shea

George Beverly Shea

George Beverly Shea was born on 1st February 1909 in Ontario, Canada, one of eight children born to a Wesleyan Methodist minister father and a mother who played the organ in his church. He grew up playing piano, organ and violin and sang in the church choir. His early ambition was to be a Mountie. He moved to New York State in the US to attend a Christian College but left without completing his degree in order to return home to help support his family during the Depression. For ten years, he worked as an insurance clerk, taking voice lessons in the evenings. It’s unclear as to when his conversion took place. However at the age of twenty-three he found a poem by Rhea Miller. He put music to it thus creating what would become one of his signature songs, “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold”.

In 1947, a young Southern Baptist minister called William Franklin (Billy) Graham Jnr heard him sing on the radio and invited Shea to join him and musical director Cliff Barrows for the first of what Billy Graham called his “crusades” in Charlotte, North Carolina. Those three men would spend the next 50 years traveling the world together on these crusades.

George Beverly Shea recorded in excess of 70 Gospel albums one of which earned him a Grammy Award in 1966. In 2011, at the grand old age of 102, he became the oldest recipient of a Grammy – on this occasion a Lifetime Achievement Award which he received in person. Apart from his appearances on Dr Graham’s TV and radio shows, he sang at prayer services in the White House for presidents from Dwight D Eisenhower to George Bush Snr. It is said that his voice was heard from North Dakota to North Korea!

Over the six weeks of the 1955 Crusade in Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall, many thousands walked forward to enquire further or to give their lives to Jesus. It is estimated that over 2.5 million Scots heard George Beverly Shea sing and Dr Billy Graham preach. A BBC TV broadcast of the Crusade attracted the biggest audience since the Coronation two years earlier. The Reformed churches in Scotland experienced a large increase in membership over the next couple of years. Some regarded this as a defining moment in Scottish religious history.

The last time I heard of George Beverly Shea was on 16th April 2013, when George Hamilton IV announced from the stage at Eden Court Theatre that “George Beverly Shea had, that morning, gone Home to be with his Lord”.

A truly long life dedicated to the Lord’s service in this world had come to an end:
a glorious life continues in Eternity.

Willie Campbell

Everlasting Treasure

Drawing of a squirrel eating acorns

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,’ Matthew Ch 6 v 19

Busy Squirrels

While on a short holiday during the winter, I spent some time watching three squirrels that had set up their residence in the garden of the house where I was staying. Every morning they could be seen busily taking nuts from a basket which the owner of the house had hung on a nearby tree.

I was impressed by their energy and agility as I watched them leaping from tree to tree as they raced up, down and around their tree top habitat. All morning they could be seen collecting nuts.

It seemed to me, as I watched the nuts diminishing inside the baskets, that the squirrels were being greatly rewarded by their efforts to collect food.

I wonder what all our efforts in life will earn us when God ‘will reward each person according to what they have done.’ Matthew 16 v 27.

Determined Gatherers

As I daily watched the squirrels it became evident that each one was determined to gather as many nuts as it could and also, it appeared, to make sure nobody else did.

Whenever a bird approached the feeding station it would be chased away. And if another squirrel tried to sneak in while one was already feeding it would be chased round and round the tree trunk and up into the topmost branches until it fled from the scene.

Are you and I as determined in our quest to lay up ‘treasures in heaven,’ Matthew 6 v 20, as the squirrels were to lay up supplies of food?

Do we do our utmost to chase away anything that is coming between us and our hopes of joining those who ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.’ Revelation 7 v 16?

Disappointing News

One morning while speaking to the house owner about the squirrels he gave me some disappointing news.

Apparently the squirrels were burying the nuts they harvested all over the garden and sadly they did not seem to remember where they had buried them. In addition, when spring came most of the nuts were lost when the garden was dug up and seeds sown and plants planted.

It was quite sad really that despite all their determined efforts the treasure they thought they had stored away would soon be lost forever.

Friends, it is sad too that many in this world are storing up treasures upon this earth that will soon be lost forever, for our lives are but ‘a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.’ James 4 v 14.

Jesus tells us to lay up ‘treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.’ Matthew 6 v 20.

Will our possessions, personal treasures, achievements and beliefs be of any use in the world to come?

Insights into Heaven

The Saviour, who God decreed ‘would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead,’ Acts 26 v 23 had a clear view of heaven for He ‘came from heaven,’ John 3 v 13, and returned there. The insight He had of joy in heaven is revealed to us in the Bible for it tells us that He ‘For the joy that was set before him endured the cross,’ Hebrews 12 v 2.

He was not the only one who had an insight into heaven for the martyr Stephen when close to death ‘‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ Acts 7 v 56. We are told that those who persecuted him ‘saw that his face was like the face of an angel,’ Acts 6 v 15. He passed into glory saying ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Acts 7 v 59.

Clearly Stephen knew that he had treasure in heaven that would never perish. Is there an ‘inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God,’ Ephesians 5 v 5, awaiting you and me? Is that where our treasure is?

Treasure in Heaven

The busy, energetic and determined squirrels had found and stored up a treasure, which although in its self perfect for them, was going to prove worthless.

Stephen had found a treasure which was priceless and sustained him during his time of trial and beyond the grave.

What do our treasures of life consist of? Will they, like those of the squirrels, prove to be worthless? Or will they, like that of Stephen, prove to be ‘an inheritance, that can never perish, spoil or fade.’ 1 Peter 1 v 4?

May we be assured of eternal life, and treasure in heaven, by truly believing in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation and deliverance from sin.

Dave Joy

Hungry?

I’m writing this not long after our June Communion and I hope we all enjoyed the weekend. We were blessed to welcome five new members and we thank God for Jan, James, Janette, Derek & Betty. God continues to assemble his team at
Rosskeen!

Friday night of the communion weekend in particular impacted on me. It made me examine myself as to my appetite for God himself. My appetite is never normally a problem for me (which is itself the problem!) but I’ve found myself challenged and reawakened to seek after more of God. C S Lewis (perhaps the most quotable man – bar Jesus – who ever lived!) once said:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition
when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child
who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum
because he cannot imagine what is meant
by the offer of a holiday at the sea.
We are far too easily pleased.”

One of the biggest challenges to me personally was hearing of incidences where God came down in power and many Christians had to leave as they struggled to cope with God’s presence. How would I react? Am I too comfortable with too little?

Going through the Psalms I see such passionate language such as:

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1

The psalmist yearns for God himself. It was Paul’s cry too – “oh that I might know him!” It’s so easy for that passion in us to dull. To become satisfied with forms and ritual. To be far too easily pleased. Where do we look for satisfaction? Has God become sidelined? Peripheral? It happens all too easily – to us all. We need
to encourage one another on to avoid this from happening.

What is most necessary for us all is that we see the all-surpassing preciousness of Jesus. The Cross shows us that most vividly and clearly – the passion God has for us, the lengths he would go to save us, infinite love, infinite dedication, hope. Like Bartimaeus maybe our prayer should be ‘Lord, I want to see’.

We are going through a process of change in the congregation – which is never easy. But let that not distract us from pursuing more of God. We are satisfied with far too little, when God offers us infinite joy – as he offers us himself. Often we major on minors and things become issues in Church life that should not be. Let’s major on who is central – God himself. Those who have gone before were faithful in their day, we must wrestle with what faithfulness to God looks like in 2013. Through it all we must keep our eyes on Jesus.

The greatest reward of the Christian life is to be with God forever. We shall see him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12, Rev 22:4). I pray that that would not only be my passion but our passion now.

“Less would not satisfy, more could not be desired”.
William Guthrie, The Christians Great Interest

Rev. Calum MacMillan

Rev Calum MacMillian
Assistant Minister